New Democrat (Monrovia)

19 July 2012

Liberia: Troubled By Nepotism

A diehard critic of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Rep. Bhofal Chambers (Maryland) has accused the President of nepotism by appointing her son Robert Sirleaf in multiple official positions, but the Ministry of Information swiftly refuted the claim as "baseless and out of focus."

Rep Chambers, who earlier defected from the ruling Unity Party to the opposition Congress for Democratic Change, told this paper in an exclusive interview Monday that the president's alleged action violated paragraph one of the Executive Order #38 outlining the code of conduct for executive appointments.

"The President is not living up to her promises. She has violated the Executive Administrative Code of Conduct which says the Republic shall 'take steps by appropriate legislation and executive orders, to eliminate sectionalism and tribalism, and such abuses of power as the misuse of government resources, nepotism and all other corrupt practices,'" Rep. Chambers indicated.

He claimed, "Mr. Robert Sirleaf, has just being appointed Commercial Counselor to Brussels. Mr. Robert Sirleaf is also senior political advisor to the President, as well as Chairman of NOCAL's Board. In my view, these acts are purely nepotistic in nature and do not speak well for our democratic and governance systems."

But Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Mr. Isaac Jackson on Wednesday refuted Rep. Chambers' claim as "bitter and out of focus".

"He's out of focus. I think Rep. Chambers is bitter because he has personal problems with the President. The President has the right to appoint whoever she wants to appoint once he or she is qualified," Mr. Jackson said.

"I challenge Rep. Chambers to adduce evidence that Madam President has appointed Mr. Sirleaf as Commercial Counselor to Brussels. He is not saying the truth. I think he should concentrate more on lawmaking and advocating for his people other than castigating the Presidency."

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